Another lese majeste case under new king

8 12 2016

The neo-feudal regime is being set in place. Following the recent lese majeste case against Neo-Democracy/New Democracy Movement activist Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa, there has been the junta-palace agitation over the BBC.

Now, as reported at Prachatai, the military dictatorship “has threatened a prominent anti-junta activist from the New Democracy Movement (NDM) with the lèse majesté law over her Facebook post.”

Chanoknan Ruamsap states that “the military contacted her family while she is in Brazil.” Apparently the military’s goons are policing a post on the monarchy that they determine may constitute lese majeste.

Her family warns her that she “might be detained at the Airport” when she returns to Feudal Thailand.

It seems that on “3 December, she shared on Facebook the biography of King Vajiralongkorn, Rama X, published by the BBC Thai and on 5 December she shared another article published by the Telegraph about King Rama X.”

The military goons are using lese majeste to mop up student activists and to ensure that the new king’s dastardly and violent history can be erased. We don’t doubt that the “new” palace is in cahoots with the fascist goons on this.

Chanoknan already faces a trial at a military court of Bangkok on 23 December on a “charge of defying the Thai junta’s ban on political gatherings.”

neofeudalism





More of the same II

7 12 2016

The new reign is just like the old reign in terms of lese majeste repression. Indeed, we think the two overlap considerably. If one looks at the lese majeste cases over the last year or so, it is clear that the focus had shifted to the then prince. We fear that the repression is now going to be deeper and darker.

The cases of lese majeste are likely to be many as the palace and junta attempt to erase all critical commentary on the new king.

The Bangkok Post reports that the “government [they mean the military junta] plans to take legal action against the Thai team of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for its recent online report on the profile of … King … Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun.”bbc

General Prawit Wongsuwan said “the target was people behind the report on the BBC Thai website.” This is the report that has caused a lese majeste charge against activist student Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa.

The pudgy royalist general “confirmed he ordered authorities to investigate into the matter.” He also stated that the military junta is “monitoring them [foreign news agencies] and check[ing] the accuracy of such reports” that offer critical commentary on the new and prickly king.

The junta’s minions have been hard at work blocking “stories both in Thai and English on the BBC and BBC Thai websites…”. The BBC Thai Facebook page is still operating.

PPT has also noticed considerable effort to block us.

It is also reported that police goons have been to the “BBC Thai office at Maneeya Building on Phloenchit Road in Bangkok on Tuesday and found it closed.” The Post has an unnamed source saying that “the Technology Crime Suppression Division under the Royal Thai Police said the division was gathering evidence regarding the BBC Thai report, which could be deemed violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lese majeste law, and the Computer Crime Act.”

It will only get worse.





On dictatorship

27 11 2016

This from the Bangkok Post:

Foreign media and observers continue to regard our present government as a “dictatorship.” They have ignored [the] Prime Minister[‘s] … explanation about the necessity for building a democratic society on a stage-by-stage basis.

The Bangkok Post was supporting a dictatorial regime in an editor’s comment on a story from 25 November 1976. Little would appear to have changed from the period of the dictatorial and palace-picked prime minister and monarchist Thanin Kraivixien to the period of the self-appointed and palace-endorsed prime minister and monarchist General Prayuth Chan-ocha.

The story, however, is of the rightist and youthful Interior Minister and palace favorite Samak Sundaravej and his approach to “establishing” what he called “democracy” in Thailand, in line with Thanin’s 12-20 year plan of stage-by-stage political change. There was an appointed assembly and elections were seen as “divisive.”

Prayuth has few youthful types in his military-based “government” but he has plenty of rightists and royalists. And he has a 20-year stage-by-stage plan. Prayuth’s military junta also has a puppet parliament of military appointees and views elections as dangerously divisive.

But there’s a difference. Samak stated (clicking opens a PDF of a 1976 press clipping):

Democracy of the past began at the Ananta Samaggom Throne Hall (traditional site of Parliament). lt then tried to seek roots in the villages. That was why it was unstable…. Democracy has to begin at the village council, then move up to the district council, the provincial assembly and then the House of Representatives.

Samak went on to declare: “We are now building up democracy from the villages.”

That sounds nothing like the current regime under The Dictator. No “bottom-up” democracy for them for they have learned that villagers simply cannot be trusted. Those at the local level don’t know what’s good for them and elect governments associated with Thaksin Shinawatra. These uppity villagers even dare to think that they should have some say in government, which is the preserve of the great and the good (and those of the military brass who don’t happen to fit these categories).

In fact, though, the comparison is false. Samak was no democrat in 1976. Reading the story it is clear that the “democracy” he boosts is, like Prayuth’s, no democracy at all. It remains top-down, with officials involved all along, directing, managing and funding a bureaucratized village planning process that knits neatly into the preferred hierarchical model of Thailand’s administration and politics. Anti-democracy and authoritarianism runs deep among the great, the good and the military brass.





Updated: In bed with the fascist regime

23 10 2016

We guess it should not be any surprise at all, but after years of trying, a report at Prachatai indicates that, by using the death of the king and the extraordinarily gushing reporting that is appearing, the military dictatorship has finally signed up some of the big, global, internet firms to the junta’s parochial, nasty and repressive internet censorship program.

We should note that the account is from the junta itself, so we do hope that the firms involved are willing to deny the accuracy of the report.

Deputy Prime Minister ACM Prajin Junthong, who is also deputy junta head says he “has asked Google and YouTube to cooperate in blocking websites and videos with alleged lèse majesté content.”censorship-1

He says that on 21 October 2016, he invited Ann Lavin, the Director of Public Policy of Google’s Southeast Asia and Greater China Office, to a meeting where censorship was the topic. The American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore lists her as “Director, Public Policy and Government Affairs in Asia Pacific, Google Asia Pacific.” It also notes that she has been a member and executive of several organizations with links into the palace.

The junta’s website states that “Prajin consulted with Lavin about ways to block websites and video clips deemed defamatory or offensive to the Thai [m]onarchy.”

According to the junta, Lavin “placed great importance on the case under the current circumstances after the recent death of King Bhumibol.” We are not at all sure why the death of a king (or anyone else) should be cause for censorship.

The report states that Lavin “agreed to set up an ad hoc team in the US to monitor alleged lèse majesté content with Thai nationals in the team and adjust the complaint form in the Thai language to make it easier for Thai people to file complaints about such online content…”. That team has reportedly begun work.

The junta “will also set up a team in Thailand to send web addresses and URLs of people alleged to have posted such online content to the Google team after which the team will consider within 24 hours whether the content should be blocked.” Prajin added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “will send a request to the US to obtain information from Google about people who post lèse majesté content on the internet…”.

Prajin noted that “on 19-20 October, 120 people, mostly Thais, reportedly posted online content deemed offensive to the … monarchy.” It is not clear if this refers to persons overseas, in Thailand or both.

The junta’s deputy leader said that pressure would also be brought to bear on Line and Facebook.

The junta is using the king’s death to promote and embed its politics and enhanced censorship is critical for the junta in denying critical voices.

Update: Above, we stated: We should note that the account is from the junta itself, so we do hope that the firms involved are willing to deny the accuracy of the report. At The Nation, it is stated:

INTERNET giant Google has denied it is monitoring posts by Thai social media users but said it would simply consider Thai government requests to remove certain sensitive posts on a case-by-case basis.

Google was reacting to a claim by Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong that it would help the government scan sensitive posts during the mourning period for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

In a statement to The Nation, Google said: “We have always had clear and consistent policies for removal requests from governments around the world. We have not changed those policies in Thailand.

“We rely on governments around the world to notify us of content that they believe is illegal through official processes, and will restrict it as appropriate after a thorough review. All of these requests are tracked and included in our Transparency Report.”

We’d tend to believe Google as the junta has a terrible record of lying. Let’s see if Prajin responds.





“Good corruption”

9 10 2016

We think the royalist and yellow-hued media we are reading is a reasonably good reflective of the anti-democrat position on corruption. To be blunt, the broad consensus is that the military regime’s nepotism, corruption and its lack of transparency is a “small price” to pay for keeping the hated Thaksin Shinawatra and the feared red shirts at bay.

Yet a couple of recent cases covered-up by the military dictatorship and its puppets have involved complaints from yellow shirts that are now buried.

SnoutsA day or so ago, the grand old palace schemer and anti-democratic stalwart General Prem Tinsulanonda again babbled on about corruption. We say he babbled not because he is an old man but because he doesn’t mean it. He says things that lots of people can agree with, but in practice its all double standards. He still seems  keen to give all his support to the junta and The Dictator, meaning he simply ignores the corruption of those he thinks are doing the “right” work of “good people” for the self-important “greats” of Thai society.

The junta itself loves the benefits it and its wives, sons, daughters, and others allied with them gain through the junta’s monopolization of political power. Accused of corruption and the only response is cover-ups and denials. They also manage a bunch of flunkies who repeatedly say the junta’s and military’s corruption is not corruption and everything is above board. They often add that there are opponents saying “false” things.

Just in the past few days, the Auditor General and the National Anti-Corruption Commission, in a couple of blunt moves has cleared junta people of any wrongdoing on a couple of seemingly shaky deals.

One was General Prawit Wongsuwan’s Hawaii trip with more than three dozen others that cost the taxpayer far more than it should have. Even without all the details, the Auditor General Pisit Leelavachiropas “confirmed” that Prawit’s trip “was free of irregularities related to the flights and their meals.” (Pisit did not comment on the junta’s arrogance.)

Pisit’s decision seems to also have been influenced by some ridiculous notion of nationalism when he “asked rhetorically if it would be suitable for the delegates to walk down from the plane of another country at an airport reception ceremony.”

Pisit came up with a bunch of other even lamer excuses that can only have come from the junta. We say that because we doubt there are others so lame as to come up with these lamest of lame excuses and think they make any sort of sense.money_down_toilet 2

Only a couple of weeks ago, Pisit was proposing “strong limits on reform of spending on ‘extravagant’ journeys.” Of course, he was hot under the collar about “members of the previous parliaments,” not his military buddies and bosses. (The trip mentioned in the story is of “then House speaker Somsak Kiatsura-nont with 37 others, including journalists and his daughter.” How much did it cost? 7 million baht. How many buddies did Prawit transport and how much did that cost, just for the plane trip?)

Hypocrisy? You bet. But dolts and puppets like Pisit are making an implicit “comparison” of “bad politicians” with “good people” serving the interests of Thailand’s “great and good.”

The other case is the claims of nepotism involving The Dictator and his brother General Preecha Chan-ocha. The NACC reportedly “dropped a complaint against former permanent secretary for defence [General] Preecha …, who was accused of abusing his power to appoint his son as an army officer.”

The NACC, falsely labelled in the report as a “graft watchdog” claimed “insufficient facts to back claims of dereliction of duty against Gen Preecha which led to the much-criticised appointment of his son, Patipat, as acting sub-lieutenant handling civil affairs in the 3rd Army Region.”

The puppet “NACC found Gen Preecha was empowered to approve selections of personnel for jobs in the military.” In making this point, the NACC is assuring us that it is unable to understand notions of conflict of interest, at least where the junta and military is involved.





Remembering 6 October after 40 years

6 10 2016

40 years after the massacre at Thammasat University, and Thailand is again under a under the boot of a military dictatorship.

The 6 October 1976 attack on students and supporters by rightist and royalist vigilantes was supported and promoted by elements in the police, military and palace.

Each year we post on this day, remembering those who were murdered, burned alive, raped and beaten. Previous posts: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.6 Oct

This year, we link to just a few of the stories that have become available because it is the 40th anniversary of those tragic and brutal events:

The military dictatorship prefers that Thais do not remember such events.





Updated: A royalist’s royalist

26 08 2016

If you are a royalist, after the near-dead king, your favorite figure must be General Prem Tinsulanonda. The aged general and president of the Privy Council has turned 96 and, according to a remarkably syrupy article in the Bangkok Post, remains remarkably important for the current military junta.

Some commentators argue that the grand old man has been pushed aside by the regime, yet it is clear that the regime continues to provide the prim and interfering “boss” with the attention and supplication that Prem craves.

For over 30 years, Prem has been at the center of Thailand’s politics, and this has reflected his long alliance with the palace. Prem returned palace support by doing more for the political and economic domination of the monarchy than any premier since General Sarit Thanarat.

Since his appointment by the king as a privy councilor, Prem has also been at the center of palace politics. Palace politics under him became intimately aligned and interconnected with national politics.

The Post states that “[n]early three decades after he left office, the country’s 16th prime minister remains as powerful and commands a great deal of clout among the ruling generals and other military top brass.”

The brass, as almost all of them have done for decades, showed up to provide birthday wishes to Prem “at his leafy Si Sao Thewes residence.” (As we have said several times in the past, “his residence” actually belongs to the state and Prem “resides” at the taxpayers expense, despite the fact that he has become quite wealthy.)

Prem held the premiership for almost 8.5 years. These were not years of political stability. He retained power through frequent cabinet reshuffles, with the support of military-appointed senates, neglecting parliament and politicians and, most significantly, the palace’s backing.

The Post suggests that Prem “stepped down as prime minister” but this neglects the bitter struggle that took place, with Prem refusing to budge and with opponents threatening to reveal his “private life.” Eventually, the campaign for an elected premier won out. Prem has been bitter about this ever since; he detests elected politicians.

His bitterness was somewhat reduced by the fact that “[d]ays after his political retirement, he was appointed by … the King as a member of the Privy Council.”

According to the Post, Prem is “recognised as working closely with the monarchy and following an important mission to protect the revered [sic.] institution.”

Prem is known for his capacity for “eliminating disloyal subordinates and disrespectful foes.” Respect is something that makes Prem feel special. He feels he deserves to be considered special and important.

The Post suggests that those who put him offside include General Suchinda Kraprayoon and his group of Class 5 graduates from the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy. They apparently sidelined Prem. Class 5 lost.

The other big loser is Thaksin Shinawatra. Prem came to hate Thaksin who he felt paid him insufficient respect and “crossed” him and the palace. Thaksin lost.

The military regime troops to Prem’s taxpayer-funded home three times a year and “offer[s] … good wishes and receive Gen Prem’s blessings.” As the Post also adds, the “Burapha Payak (Tigers of the East) and Queen’s Guard military units, which are known to play an influential role in the armed forces, also have to beat a path to the Si Sao Thewes residence, which has become a symbol of power.”

As expected, Prem has consistently provided the public support the regime requires from the palace. As the Post observes, “[t]his is a crucial time when the Burapha Payak and the Si Sao Thewes residence must stand united to weather possible political turbulence.” The alliance seems set to have a general become unlelected premier when an election is held, and Prem appears to support this.

Prem made it clear that he fully backs Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s leadership. He stated:

I trust the prime minister and that all of you can work for the country, with royalty [the monarchy] and make sacrifices….

No matter how big or small the difficulties are, I ask the prime minister to feel at ease that the armed forces and people will give encouragement to the prime minister.

He said he has always told others about how important it was that Gen Prayut and his comrades had to step in during this turbulent time.

I told “Tu” [Gen Prayut’s nickname] that old soldiers like us will do all we can to help Tu achieve the great mission for the country….

Sounds like Prem’s “vote” is in.

Royalists will listen.

Update: As a mark of the royal house’s appreciation of Prem’s loyalty and political works for it, he was given a special merit-making ceremony, “sponsored” by the king and queen. As these two are very ill and barely able to express anything, the show of respect for loyalty comes from the other members of the royal family and Privy Council. The report states that the “ceremony was held at Wat Rajabopit with Royal representatives, and some high ranking public and private officials also attending.” It was “Privy Councillor General Surayud Chulanont, who represented Their Majesties, and Air Chief Marshal Kasem Yoosuk, chief of HRH the Crown Prince’s Private Secretary’s Office, represented HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, also appeared at the ceremony to give Gen Prem bouquets and best wishes.”